I'd like to think that I've taken in my fair share of bad baseball. Doing some quick and dirty math, I reckon I've witnessed teams that I root for put up a winning record in ten seasons (out of 31 total seasons viewed between the Mariners and Marlins...and the Angels for a six year stretch when I was a kid living in Southern California).
So, a little less than a third of the time that I've been actively rooting for specific baseball teams, I am rewarded with success. I should be content with that, right? After all, a batter who fails exactly two thirds of the time is putting up a robust .333 batting average.
It was looking like I might be able to tack on another winning season to that total for much of the year, as far as the Miami Marlins went. Despite the Washington Nationals steadily maintaining their position at the top of the AL East, the Marlins were comfortably in the thick of the wild card race. They had warts, but they were also a serious contender. Legit starting lineup. Legit Cy Young award contender atop a surprisingly effective rotation. Largely consistent bullpen.
Whether or not that team would've actually made the playoffs and made some noise, we'll never get to know, because that team is gone, and what is in it's place, well...
Years of watching the Marlins and Mariners have helped make me a bad baseball team connoisseur, and this version of the Fish, my friends, is a bad baseball team.
Losing to a surging, playoff bound Indians team is one thing. Losing to a moribund Phillies team coming off their own six game losing streak is quite another. Especially when everyone knows that they need to win, desperately, to stay in the race. Sadly, we can't expect a lineup filled with AAAA guys and former bench players to beat the Phillies, let alone contend for a playoff spot.
At two games under .500 and having dug themselves into a hole against the Mets, the Marlins playoff chances are on life support. They're five games out of the second wild card in early September, so it's not over, but it is difficult even for an optimist such as myself to see this version of the Marlins jumping several teams for the chance to play meaningful October baseball.
- Three runs, three hits, two walks and six strikeouts in five innings for Jake Esch today. Esch might've hoped to win with that line, if, ya know, he wasn't being backed up by the desperation machine that constitutes the Marlins lineup these days. Austin Brice relieved Esch and was not good. Well, I should say he was initially acceptable, working a clean sixth, but he completely came apart in the seventh, issuing back to back throwing errors and then giving up a single to Peter Bourjos to get the ball rolling again for the Phillies. Brian Ellington came on in relief and promptly allowed a single to Jimmy Paredes, plating another couple at Brice's expense and ultimately sealing the deal for a Philadelphia victory.
- Speaking of Esch and players who might not be here under different circumstances, we're starting to get a real good look at the likes of Esch, Xavier Scruggs, Destin Hood, Brice and Tomas Telis. None of these guys are really "the future," persay, but that doesn't mean that they can't have a future with the Fish, so I guess the pretty sparks crackling from the grease in this dumpster fire is that we get to find out what we have here.
- The Marlins would get their lone quality inning of offense out of the way immediately, with Dee Gordon tripling, Ichiro Suzuki driving him in with a single, and later being singled in himself by JT Realmuto to give the Marlins an early 2-0 lead. In what has become a familiar tale, they would only manage three more hits the rest of the way.
- Another one bites the dust as Miguel Rojas strained his groin and had to be pulled for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He is day to day...Justin Bour is rumored to be ready to be activated in time for tomorrow's contest. Perhaps this will spell the end of Chris Johnson: Major League Ballplayer.
Hero of the game: Freddy Galvis (.245)
Flounder of the game: Jake Esch (-.161)
Play of the game: Galvis homer in the fifth (.215)